Philippines

Philippines: Mayon Volcano Situation Report No.1

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Alert Level 3
15 December 2009; 2000 hrs

Background

Since September this year, several ash explosions from Mayon Volcano in Albay Province, Bicol Region have been recorded by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS). In the last 24 hours, PHIVOLCS recorded 83 volcanic earthquakes and six small ash explosions. At 6 p.m. yesterday, incandescent lava started flowing out of its crater. These recent events prompted the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) to raise the alert level of Mayon Volcano to Alert Level 3 at 8 p.m., 14 December 2009. This alert level indicates an increased tendency towards eruption within days or weeks.

Mandatory evacuations have been ordered by the local government in the 6-km radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) around the volcano and the 7-km Extended Danger Zone (EDZ) on the southeast flank of the volcano. In addition, areas in the southeast outside the 7 kilometer danger zone but within 8 kilometers of the crater are also on high alert for volcanic activity.

Affected areas include parts of the cities of Legazpi, Tabaco and Ligao, the municipalities of Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan, Santo Domingo, Bacacay, and Malilipot. 52 barangays in total will be affected.

Impact

According to the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council of Albay, a total of 9 000 families residing in the danger zones will be evacuated. As of 8 pm today (15 December 2009), 2 698 families or 12 415 persons have already been evacuated from Camalig (6 barangays) and Daraga (2 bgys), and Legazpi City (3 bgys). Evacuation is ongoing in the other affected areas.

If the alert level is to be raised to Phase 4 (eruption within hours/ days) the total number of people to be evacuated is around 120 143.

Response

Provincial and local disaster coordinating councils have been mobilized to lead the response activities, including evacuation of affected areas. Contingency plans of all PDCC member agencies will now be executed. A disaster preparedness plan has already been developed by the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council of Albay and will now be activated.

Bicol Regional Teaching and Training Hospital (BRTTH), Albay Provincial Hospitals, and local health facilities have been placed in code blue. The provincial health office has been coordinating with DOH and BRTTH to ensure immediate health needs such as water and sanitation in the evacuation centers are being addressed.

WHO has pre-positioned 12 Emergency Health Kits (containing medicines and supplies) for the province of Albay and continues to monitor the situation with the Department of Health (DOH).

PHIVOLCS, NDCC, and OCHA continues to monitor the activity of Mayon Volcano.

Sources:
NDCC, PHIVOLCS, PDCC (Albay), DOH-HEMS, UN OCHA

To download the scenarios and preparedness plan of the Albay PDCC, please go to: http://www.un.org.ph/response/mayon/keyDocs/pres/Mayon%20Eruption%20Scenario25%20NOV%202009.ppt

For more information, please contact:
Dr Paul Andrew Zambrano zambranop@wpro.who.int +63919-2305865